Access Control Systems

What you need to know about security access control systems

Having a security access control system is essential to maintaining security in sensitive areas, especially when staff or contractors are unsupervised. These systems restrict the accessibility of certain locations to only authorized staff or visitors. Access controls are just about everywhere and aren't necessarily sophisticated; a locked room or a bouncer positioned outside the door is a basic form of access control. In order to gain access, the visitor must have either the correct key, pass code or authorization. As technology has progressed, access control systems have evolved to minimize some of the flaws of earlier methods.

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Since people can be bribed and locks can be broken, more sophisticated access controls have been created in an effort to step up security and reduce potential security breaches. A modern access control security system can trigger alarms should a door be forced, and it can monitor access patterns across all the users of a facility. It can also keep logs of authorized access and denied access for security personnel to review. Access control systems can also be used as a measure of industrial safety, keeping workers out of unsafe areas unless they are authorized.

How Access Control Systems Work

Modern access controls are replacing the traditional lock-and-key or surveillance systems. These are limited because a key cannot restrict access on certain days or times, and mechanical locks can be broken by skilled thieves. Instead, new security installations are increasingly relying on access control software along with access control cards to determine who can enter specific areas. These areas usually house expensive inventory, confidential data or sensitive materials. However, since a control card can be stolen and used by someone else for unauthorized access, many of the highest security installations are also implementing biometric access controls. These include fingerprint scans, retinal scans or facial recognition technology.

A scanner or card reader is positioned outside a door with restricted access. The person seeking entry may be required to punch in a pass code, swipe their card or complete a biometric scan. In most cases, the reader deciphers the information and transmits it to a control panel, which compares the data to an access control list and grants the request if the access criteria is met. If the criteria aren't met, then the door remains locked and the transaction is logged.

Access control systems are necessary for many construction companies that keep inventories of expensive materials. Access controls will include temporary or permanent fencing along with alarms and surveillance cameras. Theft in the workplace is an unfortunate reality today; access control restrictions allow businesses to operate effectively without overspending by hiring security guards when a well-designed security system will do. Even one security breach can cause a lasting impact on a company's public image, and winning back client confidence can be a lengthy struggle. Investing in a sound access control system can help prevent such costly occurrences from ever happening.

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